A study released by the Centers for Disease Control in late April found that elderly individuals are more likely to be killed in pedestrian accidents than younger members of the population. The study used data compiled from 2001 through 2010, and based its results on a per-100,000 person standardization. The highest death rates found in the study were among males seventy-five years of age or older. The study split this group into two groups: eighty-five and older and seventy-five to eighty-four. For men eighty-five and older, study found the death rate to be 6.35 per 100,000 accidents. This is more than four times the average death rate of 1.58/100,000. Men falling into the second age group had a significantly lower death rate of 4.53. Even with the drop of almost 2 men per 100,000, however, this rate is still roughly 2.85 times the average.
The study found survival rates for female pedestrians in these age groups to be significantly better than their male counterparts. Among the eighty-five and older group, female pedestrian deaths measured 2.43 per 100,000; the second group was measured at 2.16 per hundred thousand.
The study also investigated pedestrian death rates among ethnic groups. It found that the American Indian/Alaska Native population had the highest death rate, while whites ranked the lowest.
The study makes no definitive assertion as to why older members of society are more likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident than younger people. It does, however, note several unsurprising factors that lend themselves to this correlation. In general, seniors are more frail, disabled, and ill than younger generations. This could lead to inability to recover from injuries. Further, as we have noted before in the NY Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer blog, frequently falls, fractures, and accidents can lead to a physical and cognitive decline among seniors, making recovery that much more difficult.
The study seems to suggest that decline in vision and physical functionality may have something to do with these results, as they would make seniors more likely to be struck by vehicles. It seems though, that because the numbers are standardized, that this increase in opportunity would have no bearing on the overall death rate. Regardless, the study point to a necessity for seniors, and their caregivers, to remain alert and aware when on roadways. Being struck by a moving vehicle, much like any accident that may befall a senior, has a much greater negative effect on the elderly than it does on younger generations.
The full findings of the CDC can be found on its government website.